Winter Solstice: Story telling, Fire and Hot chocolates

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I would just like to thank all the beautiful families that came out and supported our Winter Solstice. We had a lovely evening with lots of low key, Hygge activities. Winter solstice is all about building deep connections within families, but also for families to experience belonging, not only to my mum and dad but also to the wider community around me. Families coming together to share food, fire and experience storytelling in lots of different capacities. Creating an experience that our children can look forward to each year. An experience that is organic and free from commercialism and stress.

Fire: Thank you to Ben’s Dad, for providing a beautiful safe place for our kids to explore fire, the richness of and colours of dancing flames, the smell of burnt wood and melting marshmallows on sticks, is the ultimate chill out session for families.

We have a fireplace at our house, and it is lit most evening in winter, despite having central heating. My kids just love sitting and watching the flames, reading or playing Lego by the fire, or just curling up and falling asleep, wrapped in the gentle warmth of the coals. These are memories of calm and security that will be deeply embedded in my children’s memories of home as a secure and loving environment.

Hot Chocolates and toasties: Thank you to Mocha Man Darren and his beautiful family for coming out to be part of our evening. Also to Isabelle’s Mum and Ben’s mum for all their hard work keeping the kitchen going. For all the cooking shows on TV, not much beats toasted sandwiches and hot chocolate as a quick easy evening meal!

The best thing about toasted sandwiches is that anything goes. Kids can choose what they would like to have in their sandwich, decide what order of the sandwich, and how best to cut it. These are all decisions that kids from 1 YO can actively participate in, if they are showing an interest in doing so. It don’t matter if the butter is on the wrong side, the filling in the wrong space, there are simply learning opportunities on how things work. My kids have normally had healthy foods throughout the day, particularly afternoon tea as they come home ravenous. So I am not so fazed about high quality meals each night. Toasted sandwiches are cheaper than most take-away foods, and much richer in experiences that build connection and belonging.

Story telling: The children last night were offered lots of different ways of sharing stories and tales. From listening to storybooks read to them by grown ups and other children, to creating unscripted puppet plays using our beautiful Folkmanis puppets for their Grown ups or peers, to creating paper shadow puppets, crafted from black paper, creating their own designs, and using torches on white sheets to telling stories. Some children just experimented with the light and the shadows, whilst other clever cookies created a lifecycle of butterflies using the black paper and told the story of change. These are complex concepts that children are exploring and experiencing, scaffolded by their most trusted adults – the perfect ingredients for deep learning. These stories are generated by the children, not pre-organised or scripted.

My favorite was the storytelling on the light box: there were some pretty good tales happening from snowflakes falling in Africa on top of the lion. The lion went in horror to see his closest mate T-Rex who devoured the coloured snowflakes to sooth his throat, sore from excessive roaring. Given the heavy demographics of children 2-4 YO and our children’s obsession with dinosaurs, the dinosaur were a hot topic for tales. Encouraging children to create their own stories and the retell in lots of different ways is one of the richest ways that you can help your child develop not only literacy skills, but to help foster deep imagination and creativity: these 2 skills are the skills these kids need to be employable in the futures.

Finally a huge thank you to Julie from Sounds Like This who joined our community, just because she believes in belonging and she shared her storytelling through musical stories. Our kids were captivated, amazed and spellbound! We will miss you over the next 6 months, but we all look forward to you feeling better and rejoining next year. All our love, care, and energy is yours as your body heals.